Definition of inoperable in US English:



  • 1Medicine
    Not able to be suitably operated on.

    ‘inoperable cancer of the pancreas’
    • ‘The research, conducted at the Liverpool Lung Cancer Unit, could help prolong the lives of people diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.’
    • ‘She had just been diagnosed with inoperable rectal cancer and faced months of chemotherapy and biological therapy plus the annoyance of having an ileostomy.’
    • ‘Detection of inoperable cancer was the outcome measure.’
    • ‘Surgical resection of the pancreas using Whipple's procedure remains the mainstay of therapy, but many cases of pancreatic cancer are inoperable.’
    • ‘A 63 year old man with pneumonia was admitted three weeks after he had been discharged after investigation and, ultimately, a diagnosis of an aggressive inoperable lung cancer.’
    untreatable, incurable, beyond cure, beyond surgery, irremediable
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  • 2Not able to be operated.

    ‘the airfield was bombed and made inoperable’
    • ‘After their defeat at the Battle of Long Island, the mill was disabled so that the British would find it inoperable.’
    • ‘He protested that there was absolutely no brake fluid in the car - none - and the brakes were inoperable.’
    • ‘It had a fireplace and the first night we moved in, not knowing that it was inoperable, we started an enormous fire and smoked everybody out of the apartments above us.’
    • ‘This week is one to be lamented as if officially puts an end to the summer and the time has come to resolve to remove the de-icer from the car before the locks freeze up rendering the doors inoperable.’
    • ‘Well, remember, there are some over 200,000 tons that have been found and destroyed and made inoperable by our spectacular service people who work in the coalition.’
    • ‘A number unique to each handset can be used to identify and render stolen phones inoperable.’
    • ‘And as groups which emphasize their military nature, they should certainly know better than to point any gun, even an inoperable one, at someone whom they're not about to justifiably shoot.’
    • ‘The company has 489 inoperable buses left idle in its 16 bus depots.’
    • ‘As the lift was inoperable, my legs are still complaining.’
    • ‘Most systems allow all windows but the driver's to be made inoperable from the passenger seats, which is very handy for folk with small children to consider.’
    • ‘If it was being done, how is it that they did not know that those hydrants in a critically congested area of the city were inoperable?’
    • ‘How it has taken almost a month to correct whatever fault that has rendered the traffic lights at this dangerous junction inoperable is beyond me.’
    • ‘A crate containing the weapon had already arrived by ship at a US port - but, before leaving Russia, the missile had been made inoperable.’
    • ‘Four refineries may remain inoperable for months.’
    • ‘I wrote to Celtic to complain, but despite getting a reply promising action, the toilet locks remained inoperable, and I now follow my team via the radio, hardly a worthy substitute.’
    • ‘Although the deal called for such heavy arms as mortars and rocket-propelled grenades to be surrendered to the Marines, all they have received is a small assortment of rusty, inoperable weapons.’
    • ‘The hydrant at the corner of Queen and Frederick Streets, the one closest to the fire, was one of those inoperable ones.’
    • ‘The train had its windows smashed and was left inoperable.’
    • ‘This would render the space telescope inoperable in 2 to 4 years.’
    • ‘Since her steam engines were long ago rendered inoperable, it would cost an additional $15,000 to have her towed up the river.’
    unusable, out of action, out of order, out of service, not in service, not operative, not in operation, not working, non-active, unable to be used
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  • 3Impractical; unworkable.

    ‘the procedures were inoperable’
    • ‘The uneasy separation of motive from outcome, which he blithely assumes in theory, is inoperable in practice.’
    • ‘The Doctrine of pre-emption becomes inoperable without unimpeachable intelligence accepted by all as the coin of the realm.’
    • ‘Many of them know, as indeed we know on this side of the House, that if we accept the amendments that have been put forward, the questioning process from a practical point of view will be rendered inoperable.’
    impractical, unworkable, unfeasible, unrealistic, non-viable, impracticable, unserviceable, unsuitable, inappropriate, inconvenient
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